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Thurston Talk – July 22, 2015

Jeanette Laffoon was tired of practicing law. It was the mid-1990s, and all she wanted to do was stay home, look after her newborn daughter, and sew quilts.

“The law I was practicing—corporate, litigation, and franchise law—was all about business and less about helping individuals,” said Laffoon. “Just when I decided to quit, a friend who worked for Legal Services called and asked if I would be willing to start a Hospital Project in Denver. The job involved interviewing hospital patients who were unable to pay their bills. Many of them, we discovered, were legally disabled and qualified for Social Security Disability (SSD) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI),” she said.

Laffoon came to love the law again because of the joy she received helping people who had a physical or mental impairment qualify for disability.

In 1999, Elie Halpern & Associates PLLC offered Laffoon a job practicing SSD and SSI law in Olympia. She accepted the offer, and she and her family left Denver. “After living in a large city for so long, we were relieved to get to a small town with clean air, clean water and huge trees,” she said.

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